Updated May. 07, 2013 03:02
Diluted hydrofluoric acid liquid amounting to 100 liters has leaked at a chemical manufacturing company in Shihwa Industrial Complex in Shiheung, Gyeonggi Province, but no injuries or causalities reported. Hydrofluoric acid was leaked from a pump on an outdoor hydrofluoric acid tank (22 tons, 22,000 liters) at JC Co. in the industrial complex at around 7 a.m. Monday. The accident is believed to have occurred due to abnormality in the pump that transmits hydrofluoric acid from the tank to pipes.
The hydrofluoric acid that has leaked this time is a diluted substance comprising 55 percent of hydrofluoric acid and 45 percent of water, and a total of about 100 liters of the substance leaked out for 30 minutes until a company staff spotted and closed the valve. The tank was containing 15,000 liters of hydrofluoric acid liquid at the time of the accident. When hydrofluoric acid was leaked at Samsung Electronics Hwaseong Plant in January, an estimated 20 to 30 liters was leaked.
The company staff, who spotted the leak at the site for the first time, said, We started work with hydrofluoric acid at around 7 a.m. When I checked to see any abnormality, I discovered hydrofluoric acid leak and reported to the fire station at 7:28 a.m.
The leaked hydrofluoric acid did not spread outside of the plant due to a concrete oil wall measuring 66 square meters wide and 1 meter high installed around the hydrofluoric acid tank. Authorities judge that as diluted hydrofluoric acid does not vaporize in natural conditions, hydrofluoric acid has not spread into the air this time. The density of hydrofluoric acid, measured at the site on the day by the National Institute of Environmental Research, amounted to 0.2∼0.3 ppm, which is lower than the permissible level of 0.5 ppm. Hydrofluoric acid has not been detected at a location some 10 meters off the site.
JC is a chemical manufacturing company that produces iron sulfate coat and other materials, and has 20 employees. Judging that the leak was caused by aged packing in the pump at the hydrofluoric acid tank, the Employment and Labor Ministry, the Han River basic environment administration, and Gyeonggi provincial Industrial Complex Environment Management Office are investigating the exact cause of the accident and indirect damage.